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Community Voices: USF St. Petersburg regional chancellor search begins

Caryn Nesmith



Martin Tadlock
Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of USF's St. Petersburg campus, is stepping down and will resume teaching in the College of Education. USF photo.

Welcome to the Catalyst’s Community Voices platform. We’ve curated community leaders and thinkers from all parts of our great city to speak on issues that affect us all. Visit our Community Voices page for more details.

The University of South Florida (USF) has released the position description for the regional chancellor position at the St. Petersburg campus, kicking off the public search for the position.

Last year, Martin Tadlock announced his intent to step down as regional chancellor and resume teaching in the College of Education. He is currently scheduled to rejoin the faculty in June.

The regional chancellor search is beginning in earnest, just as Rhea Law was named the new USF President on March 22 after the two final candidates visited the USF St. Petersburg campus (and all campuses) on March 21. The timing was intentional with the aim to get a president in place before searching for a new regional chancellor.  

In November, USF formed a search committee for the regional chancellor post, which includes leaders and faculty on campus as well as community members heavily invested in the progress of the USF St. Petersburg campus. Among the committee members are Alison Barlow, executive director of the Innovation District, and Jason Mathis, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

In order to capture the priorities of all stakeholders, the committee spent two days in St. Petersburg in February talking to students, faculty, staff, business leaders, community members, elected officials and donors. The position description reflects those conversations.

“The university seeks a dynamic and visionary leader who is passionate about student success, research and innovation, and the opportunity to serve as an advocate for the university that is deeply embedded in the St. Petersburg community and the region,” the statement said.

“All the energy and excitement in St. Petersburg and the region make this a great time to conduct a search,” added Thomas Smith, Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean of the Judy Genshaft Honors College, and chair of the search committee. “We’re confident we’ll find a visible and visionary leader committed to working collaboratively to expand academic programs in St. Pete and further strengthen the bonds between the campus and the community.”

The position description describes the role as the chief administrative officer but also emphasizes the dedication to and passion for serving community. The individual will “serve at the forefront in enhancing existing relationships and creating new ones with alumni, community leaders, donors, and friends of USF in the St. Petersburg community.”

Community conversations in February with consultant Alberto Pimental and the search committee built on conversations last fall in which local leaders provided input on the attributes they sought.

“The candidate’s management style will be key,” Veatrice Farrell, executive director of the Deuces Live said. “The whole leadership team has to be empowered to work with the community.”

“We need a visionary and consensus builder,” added Ladan Mantegui, a senior advisor in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office.

Dr. Tonjua Williams, president of St Petersburg College commented on the long-standing partnership with USF and the desire to expand it.

 “We have been partners forever with USF.  I would love to see USF being partners for other needs in the county [outside of St. Petersburg],” Williams said. “I would love to have USF as a feeder school in Seminole and Tarpon and other places.”

Recruiting will continue for several weeks though the search firm will continue to accept applications and nominations until the position is filled. Applications should include a current curriculum vitae and a letter of interest describing relevant experience and interest in the position.  Once the committee has narrowed down the pool of candidates, the campus and community will be invited to meet them. Learn more about the search process here and tell all the qualified, community-oriented, visionary but humble servant leaders you know to apply ASAP.

Caryn Nesmith is director of community relations at USF, a position jointly funded by the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the St. Petersburg Innovation District, the City of St. Petersburg and USF. This is a series focused on USF and its role in our community, serving to strengthen the prosperity of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. You can contact Caryn at carynn@usf.edu


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    Charlie Guy

    March 20, 2022at5:00 am

    Some more great news for the City of St Pete….especially for those of us enjoying this additional newly created excitement being created in the Southside by this partnership effort of St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, the St. Petersburg Innovation District, the City of St. Petersburg and USF.

    Co-Founder of the Southside Greenway, a sponsoring partner our regional multimodal transportation (Bikes & Buses) assemblage plan.

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